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The International Federation of Equestrian Sports (FEI) announced that Russia and Belarus are not invited to the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.
The organization joins World Athletics in banning the two countries due to Russia’s illegal attack on Ukraine which Belarus supports.
The bans fly in the face of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which has waffled on its position from day one. The IOC currently is allowing Russian athletes to compete as neutrals. The last time that happened, in Tokyo, the gesture turned out to be nothing more than tokenism. Russia won 20 gold, 28 silver, and 23 bronze medals for a total of 71 to land fifth overall in the medal tally.
"The current geopolitical tensions are extremely complex. In such times, the unifying power of sport is more important than ever before. To be such a unifying power, it is essential that we all stand together."— IOC MEDIA (@iocmedia) November 14, 2023
– IOC President Thomas Bach, at the opening of the International… pic.twitter.com/9eIToW9byQ
Russian athletes competed under the name ROC as Russian Olympic Committee. The athletes identified as Russian, their names are Russian and the most highly competitive of them are very well known. Russia sent a delegation of over 300 people to Tokyo for the Games, for which the general public was not permitted to attend due to COVID-19. Somehow the country proved to support systematic doping as well as its illegal attack on Ukraine was very present in Tokyo as it appears it may be in Paris.
ROC displaced 71 other athletes from glory in Tokyo. That is not a ban.
Other embargos on Russia
Russia is no longer supplied with or trading with many dozens of large corporations. For example, Boeing, Fedex, KPMG, L’Oréal, Shopify, Adidas, Nike, Yamaha, Harley Davidson, Toyota, Pepi, Live Nation, YouTube, Google, Microsoft, British Petroleum, VISA, JP Morgan, and Apple to name just a few.
Interestingly, Toyota and VISA are Paris Olympic Games sponsors.
The sports organizations who are demonstrating their distaste for the war by banning Russia include FIFA, EUFA, NHL, Formula 1, ITF, FIBA and International Ski Federation — the whole list is much longer.
There are at least 20 other sports federations who have banned Russia.
In February 2022, the IOC called for international sporting federations to either move or cancel any sports events planned in Russia or Belarus. The organization recommended sports federations and organizers not invite or allow the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials to international competitions. However, near the end of 2023, eight months before the Olympic Games, IOC president Thomas Bach announced that Russia and Belarus will be competing at least as neutrals, again, likely under the name ROC in Paris.
FEI smartly avoids controversy
The FEI gently concluded that the opportunity to qualify for the Olympic Games was usurped by conditions out of their control. Its press release reads:
“According to the Olympic qualification systems for Equestrian sports, individual qualification is secured through the FEI Olympic Rankings for Jumping, Dressage, and Eventing, which cover the period from 1 January 2023, to 31 December 2023. As Russian and Belarusian athletes have not competed in FEI events since 2 March 2022, there will be no representatives from these nations at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games,” the statement concluded.
Apparently, this is a well-orchestrated way to prevent Russian and Belarussian equestrian athletes from participating in their events at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games — well played, FEI, well played.
Russia continues to trip over its ineptitude
The IOC suspended the Russian Olympic Committee on October 12, 2023 for another reason.
The IOC suspended ROC until further notice for including the occupied DPR, LPR, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions in its membership of Olympic councils.
“The ROC’s decision to include four Olympic councils in its membership is a violation of the Olympic Charter as it violates Ukraine’s territorial integrity,” IOC communications director Mark Adams told reporters.
Therefore, ROC will not be able to receive funding from the IOC and fulfill the functions of the National Olympic Committee.
As Russia is cash-strapped due to embargos in trade and supply and their gregarious spending on war that they may be losing, this will further handcuff the backward nation.